Dark Spaces: The Hollywood Special #3 Review

Writer: Jeremy Lambert

Artist: Claire Roe

Colorist: Jordie Bellaire

Letterer: Becca Carey

Cover Artists: Claire Roe; Dani; Jacob Edgar; Gavin Fullerton

Publisher: IDW

Price: $3.99

Release Date: November 8, 2023

Movie star Lou Gaines wakes up in his room on the train. He studies a script while he eats. When his traveling companion on this goodwill tour does a no-show, he takes a breakfast tray to her room. Vivian Drake’s room has not changed since she left yesterday morning. Has the faded starlet gotten into trouble again? Did she even return to the train last night? Let’s leap into Dark Spaces: The Hollywood Special #3 and find out!

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing #12 Review.


In 1942, Lou Gaines and Vivian Drake traveled across America, promoting the sale of war bonds to support the United States armed forces during World War II. Letter from Vivian’s estranged daughter Ava and the I. R. S. soured Vivian’s mood. After a cave-in at the mine in Minersville, Pennsylvania, only Molly greeted them at the train station. The girl’s awe of Vivian prompted Vivian to help. After she and Lou aided the rescuers, the crew aboard the Hollywood Special told them the collapse also damaged the tracks. Haunted by the likeness of an accident victim to her daughter, Vivian sought escape in the local tavern. When the tavern closed, she spotted Molly in the street and followed her young fan back to the mine. Then the Mismatch Man—or Mish Mash, as Molly calls him—appeared. Vivian tried to protect the girl and fell into the rubble-strewn mine.

In Dark Spaces: The Hollywood Special #3, Jeremy Lambert returns Vivian to Hollywood, where Ava’s wheezing interrupts filming. Vivian rushes off the set to help her daughter. The attack threatens to asphyxiate Ava. Helpless, Vivian watches as her daughter undergoes a nightmarish change. The film star awakens in a diner named after her. She orders a breakfast named after her daughter. Ava reappears, but so does the Mismatch man. Unlike Vivian’s daughter, he’s not in a talkative mood.


Claire Roe conjures two versions of Vivian, two shapeshifting visions of Ava as a child, and a talking breakfast. Roe’s tortured creation–the Mismatch Man—evokes the severed body parts the actors discovered when they tried to clear the overloaded breaker. Then there’s Molly–the bartender’s daughter–who bears more than a passing likeness to Ava as a child. Amid all this, Vivian remains central to Dark Spaces: The Hollywood Special #3. Worn down by life, the film star tried to have it all and ended up with nothing. Her real-life teenage daughter doesn’t want her. But when danger threatens, Vivian rushes to protect the young daughter of her dream, just as she sought to protect Molly in issue #2.

Neon lights atop Vivian’s Diner cast a colorful glow upon the rippling surface of the underground lake. Jordie Bellaire’s limited palette contrasts grays and beige with pinks and crimson. Bodily trauma signals an orange and red storm in Dark Spaces: The Hollywood Special #3, while a horrifying attack turns diner walls into weathered copper. Except when voices lower, the uppercase letters in white dialogue balloons are big, black, and beautiful. Becca Carey’s sound effects enliven Vivian’s journey into darkness. Yet Ava’s wheezing lingers. Thanks to IDW for providing a copy for review.

Final Thoughts

Dark Spaces: The Hollywood Special #3 explores the conflict between work and family and how making the wrong choice can cast us into an abyss of regret.


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